Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Well, a lot has happened since my last post. I have been very busy with tuning work in addition to shop work, so I just haven't had time to write. The board was pressed several weeks ago, the bridge work was completed, and the bridges were attached to the board. After the bottom of the board was sprayed, it was glued into the piano.
The pinblock was drilled to receive the tuning pins, and the plate was refinished before being installed over top the pinblock and soundboard/bridge assembly. The piano then is ready to have all new strings and tuning pins installed.
After being strung, The dampers will be reinstalled with new felts, and the action work will be completed. More on that later.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
The new soundboard being built started out as a Sitka Spruce tree in North West Washington State. After the log was allowed to season, it was cut up by a milling company in Washington State. The log is quarter sawn, and only a select few pieces of the log are of the quality need for a piano soundboard. That quality includes nearly vertical grain, straight grain the entire length of the piece of wood, clear-no knots or pitch pockets, and annular rings that are tight and close to one another. After the pieces are selected, they need to be laid out to accommodate the size and angle of the grain in the new soundboard. After this has been accomplished, the pieces of the soundboard were sent to my shop on Pennsylvania, where I glue the pieces together, plane the panel to the proper thickness, and cut the glued up pieces into the shape of the soundboard. After sanding it is ready to receive the ribs that will be glued to the panel. Preparing the ribs is another story.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
After the old soundboard is broken out of the piano, a fair amount of wood and glue residue remain. The rim gluing surface needs to be cleaned in preparation of installing the new soundboard. Chisels are used to remove the large pieces of wood residue with extreme caution so that the original rim surface is not damaged. Then the surface is soaked with a special water solution that softens the old glue so that it can be scraped from the rim glue surface.After this process is completed, the rim is left to dry overnight after which the surface is lightly sanded and any repairs that are needed are done.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Removing a soundboard from a piano is the no turning back point in belly work. The soundboard is glued to the piano inner rim and needs to be "broken" out of the piano. I take great care in removing the old board as I use it for a pattern in making the new board. I endeavor to replicate the old board, and make improvements where possible. The pictures show the removed board.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Removing the cast iron plate in a piano can be a bit un-nerving as it weighs several hundred pounds, and could cause damage to the piano if improperly handled, or worse yet, injury to the technician removing it. An electric hoist makes the job a bit safer.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Having completed recording all the measurements and patterns, I moved to the next step of removing all the strings. The tension was lowered somewhat evenly until the strings were slack. Then the beckets on the tuning pins were broken, and the tuning pins turned out of the pinblock. This then allows the old strings to be removed. They are discarded, and all new strings will be installed at the end of the project.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Again this year we took five of our seven grandchildren to our Roxbury Cabin to have Grandma and Grandpa camp. Rosanna and I traveled to Michigan on Wednesday evening June 12th to pick up two of our three Michigan Grandchildren. We left for Pennsylvania on Wednesday morning after Anna was finished with her last day of school. We arrived at Roxbury at about 6PM to join the Pennsylvania Grandchildren. On Thursday we enjoyed a day at the Whitaker Center Science Center, saw an IMax movie and ate lunch at Strawberry Square. On Friday we traveled to Little Buffalo State Park, and enjoyed a day of swimming and a picnic lunch. Saturday noon we returned to Mechanicsburg where Greg and Bethy arrive at about 6PM to join us for a family picnic. The kids had fun singing the songs they learned for their parentsThe Michigan crew left to return home at 5AM on Sunday morning. Grandma and grandpa were tired, but full of wonderful memories.
After a year of very little piano rebuilding work, it is again good to have several projects in process at my shop. The most recent is an 1914 model O that I will be installing a new sound board, etc. The piano was partially rebuilt about 30 years ago, with the sound board and bridges being repaired. They are now in need of replacement to bring back the full potential that lies in this piano. The pictures show that the dampers have been removed, and patterns and measurements are being taken to insure that the original beauty of this instruments sound is preserved. Parts have been ordered, and many have been received. I am waiting for the sitka spruce to arrive from Washington State to begin construction of the new soundboard.
The harp has settled in now, so after 4 months I have installed the sharping levers. Had a good friend who also builds harps look at my harp last evening. His comments were favorable. Any guesses when I'll build my next harp? I have the major components for another one, but thankfully I have a lot of piano rebuilding work again, so it may be a while.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Today I did the final rubbing out of the finish, assembled the neck/pillar to the shell and strung the instrument. The mono filament strings stretch incredibly, so it will require a lot of tuning. After the tuning stabilizes a bit, we will be able to install sharping levers, making it a full fledged lever harp.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I have finally had time to get back to my harp building. The past 7 weeks have been very busy with piano tuning, for which I am thankful. Last evening I was able to glue the soundboard into the shell. Now I need to install the finish trim , final sanding and finish to complete this part of the harp. The neck/post are assembled and veneered, and also need to have final prep done before finishing. After everything is has been lacquered, it will be time to string....but that is a week or two away I am sure.
It has been a long time since I last wrote. Less than a week after my last post I received a call from my wife saying the house was on fire....not the kind of call you want to get! Since the fire our lives have been turned upside down a bit. But the good new is that no one was injured. And we only had smoke damage on our half of the house. The interior of our tenants half of our house was totally destroyed. We were unable to live in our house for 10 weeks, and even though we are now living in our house, we do not have the use of our family room which housed our business office, and our wood stove. So life continues to be a bit interrupted, but life goes on, our God has been faithful to us in providing us with peace in the midst of the storm. Several attached photos shows the progress on our family room.